Architecture admirers take note: There are now three more reasons to visit Auckland Museum's revitalised South Atrium entry precinct, with the space taking out three categories at the New Zealand Architecture Awards.

The Museum's revitalised South Atrium entry precinct Te Ao Mārama was recognised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects at their annual New Zealand Architecture Awards on Thursday 2 December. The space won in three categories: Public Architecture, Heritage and Hospitality.

The revitalised space is one of the most significant changes to the Museum in more than a decade. Opening last December, its completion, which saw the Museum's Southern entrance close for approximately 18 months, wrapped up the final phase of a series of major transformations to the Museum's visitor experience. What was once a very municipal back entrance to the Museum, is now a generous entry precinct where all visitors are welcomed with manaakitanga.

This national achievement recognises Auckland Museum and its architects, Jasmax with FJMT, designTRIBE, and Salmond Reed Architects. In addition, Jack McKinney Architects have been recognised for a Hospitality award for the fit-out of the Tuitui Bistro & Café.

Te Ao Mārama South Atrium impressed the Awards' judges, who described it as an exemplary project that threads a series of bold new architectural elements and integrated artworks through the accumulated layers of the existing Museum, transforming it into a cohesive entity fit for its multicultural future.

“New spaces and linkages have been elegantly designed to connect rooms and navigate between existing layers of heritage fabric, choreographing visitor flow through the building, as well as telling its story,” said the judges.

“Through diverse and responsive stakeholder engagement, and respectful intervention with heritage, this collaborative team has created critical new connections and facilitated improved accessibility on multiple levels with a broadened cultural relevance to Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.”

Te Ao Mārama South Atrium is respectful of the building’s heritage, while integrating bicultural concepts that deepen engagement with the Museum’s collections and stories. Its unique suspended Tanoa architecture celebrates our place in the culture and cultures of 21st-century Tāmaki and Aotearoa.

Project Architect, Marianne Riley who worked on the space as part of the architectural joint venture of Jasmax with FJMT and designTRIBE, says it was an honour to support the Museum's vision to fulfil the building’s potential as a welcoming, relevant, and accessible space for all manuhiri / visitors.

"Te Ao Mārama is the result of weaving together knowledge of cultural stakeholders, museum expertise and collaborative design thinking, providing space for bicultural innovations and for mana whenua to belong. The resulting spaces create an elevated cultural experience for all manuhiri to arrive and connect to the Museum, its place and people.”

The Museum’s new bistro and cafe, Tuitui, situated within Te Ao Mārama, designed by Jack McKinney Architects won the Hospitality category. It was acclaimed by the judging panel for “details that are both sweet and robust, and a back-of-house space creatively shoe-horned around a heritage structure, the front-of-house area has been maximised in a manner that is contemporary, chic and intriguing.”

Click here to learn more about Te Ao Mārama and plan your visit here.